Yes, we love the candlelit dinner, roses and chocolates, but not necessarily the cost. You can’t put a price on love, but even on Valentine’s Day, it’s nice to have the romance without the big bill. Here are a few ideas for romantic Valentine’s Day activities that are a little different than the big name Valentine's Day events in Atlanta.
1. It's dark. It's private. It's the drive-in.
Here’s a flashback to classic dating–the drive-in. Yes, go on over to the Starlight Drive-In on Memorial Drive, snuggle under a blanket and watch a movie. It’s $9 for an adult ticket that allows you admission for two movies playing on the same screen.
2. Love ya’ to death
Back by popular demand, Oakland Cemetery is hosting “Love Stories of Oakland” with more than 20 tour stops through the Victorian garden cemetery as guides tell about the loves, lives and losses of Atlantans of past years. The tour also examines the love and devotion memorialized on the monuments, headstones and mausoleums. There are tours on Feb. 14 from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. and on Feb. 15 starting at 3:30 p.m., with the last one starting at 6:30 p.m. After the tour, check out the museum shop for Valentine-themed gifts.
3. Just hang
How about simple together time? Atlanta has a number of fun neighborhoods where you can get a cup of coffee or an ice cream and just walk around, people watch, window shop and-enjoy each other’s company. Some of our favorite places are Virginia-Highland, Little Five Points, East Atlanta and Castleberry Hill. You might even want to go to Atlantic Station or the great malls, Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza.
4. Make like movie stars
Who can forget Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze together with her pottery wheel? It doesn’t get any better than that. MudFire is offering a Valentine’s Special Date Night Package where you and your plus-one can get instructions and then work on a clay project while enjoying some snacks in the process. The two-hour session costs $110.
5. Is he your significant otter?
Find out at the Georgia Aquarium’s "Sips Under the Sea: Be My Valentine" affair. The plus 21-event features romantic tunes, cocktails, small plates and exploring the aquarium after hours. You’ll roam the aquarium, complete with a live DJ-and no kids. You can even spend the night at the aquarium with a special package.
6. Where love blooms
"Valentines in the Garden: Decades of Love" will put you in the mood for romance as Atlanta Botanical Garden celebrates the day with bites and desserts from the city’s top chefs, live music and a cash bar. You can even renew your vows. The theme is love through the ages with 80 years of romance honored through themed music, food and decor. So expect to twist the night away at a '50s sock hop, groove with the flower power music of the '60s and then don’t forget disco fever of the '70s. The music will take your through each decade and then end with a vision of the 2020’s tunes. General admission: $45 - $50; VIP admission: $165 - $175 (includes early admission, two drink tickets and two corsages or boutonnieres).
7. Score a date
Don’t have a date? Not a problem. Head over the Bar + Kitchen on Edgewood Avenue for My Cheeky Date, which the hosts say is a fresh alternative to traditional speed dating and matchmaking. Hosts will assist with the Date-Mate scorecard. Women remain seated while men go from woman to woman every six minutes. Jot down the ones you like and if it’s a match, you’ll be notified within 24 hours.
8. Laugh it up
Laughter is a great aphrodisiac so spend the evening at Dad’s Garage where the improv group has two special Valentine’s Day shows. The first starts at 8 p.m., the second, “Sweater Puppies Valentine’s Show,” begins at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $35.
9. Brew for two
Atlanta Brewing Co. is having a special Valentine’s Day beer and charcuterie event. There will be flights of five-ounce beers each paired with cheeses. Guests will be able to try the brewery’s latest beer, the Lonely Hearts Club stout, and will receive a gift back including a cheese board and ABC swag. $50.
10. Dramatic touch
Passion comes in many forms and over at the Out Front Theatre Co., it comes in a play, “Bull in a China Shop,” which tells the story of Mary Wooley and Jeannette Marks and the effects that the suffragette movement and being lesbians had on their lives. The play is based from real letters between the two women from 1899 to 1937. The Out Front Theatre is Atlanta’s only LGBTQIA+ theater company, and this production is being done in conjunction with Georgia State University. $15 - $25.
11. Take a spin
What’s more romantic than snuggling in a gondola and soaring above the city. Take a ride on SkyView Atlanta and watch the world go by. It’s $13.89 per person, but there are VIP tickets available for $50 per person.
Journalist Mary Welch writes business and lifestyle stories for local and national publications.